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FRIDAY, APRIL 20, 2007
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EDITORIAL

Threat of campus violence must be taken seriously

School authorities across the nation braced for copycat threats following Monday's massacre on Virginia Tech's campus.

Whether this type of threat is a sick game or a real intent to do more violence is something authorities have to determine.

The killing of 33 people on the Tech campus came closer to the Tennessee Valley on Wednesday when Hartselle High School authorities picked up a former student's alleged threat of violence.

Students interacting on the popular Web site MySpace alerted authorities ,who immediately put the school in what they refer to as a modified lockdown, or a higher level of security. The youngster turned himself in to authorities in South Carolina on Wednesday.

Across the Tennessee River at Calhoun Community College, authorities had to deal with the alleged threat of a known female student against a professor, who said in a voice mail, "I hope she's not afraid to die." The student referred to the Virginia Tech tragedy.

Did Hartselle authorities overreact? Not based on the evidence thus far in the Virginia case. If authorities had paid more attention to Cho Seung-Hui's strange behavior, the massacre may never have happened.

The Calhoun setting is different from a high school campus and that threat was supposedly against an individual. Authorities there seemed, however, to under-react in not issuing a campuswide alert to the potential problem. The college's official spokeswoman said she didn't even know if the student was on campus Wednesday and didn't appear to want to discuss the situation.

That's not good. The administration needs to take a proactive approach to such threats.

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